Readers of our blogs must be aware that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, has issued the Draft Trade Marks Rules, 2015 (PDF) for public comments on 17th November 2015. Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) and Perry4Law Law Firm have already provided an analysis of the proposed Trade Marks Rules 2015 Of India (PDF). Various stakeholders can read the same from the above mentioned link.
Trademarks are not given much importance in India by business houses and individuals. Brand management and intellectual property rights protection should be on the priority list of top management and they must be part of corporate policies. Domain names must be adequately safeguarded and protected by business houses and e-commerce websites and companies as well.
Trademark and brand protection requires a well drafted and properly executed strategy. This starts even before the business venture or e-commerce website is launched. Of course, e-commerce laws are also required to be complied with simultaneously. As on date, most of the e-commerce website owners are neither following the laws of India nor are they paying any attention to trademark protection.
It is very important that business houses, individuals and e-commerce websites must be aware of the proposed trademark rules 2015. Some of the salient features of the proposed trade mark rules 2015 are as follows:
(1) The forms relating to trademarks have been significantly reduced. This would help in reducing the unnecessary documentation and their conversion into electronic format.
(2) The filing fees have been doubled with little correlation with the proposed trademark services. There seems to be no direct relationship between the increased fees and the nature and quality of services proposed to be offered by the trademark registry.
(3) Time bound performance on the part of trademark registry is missing from the proposed rules.
(4) The proposed rules have not given emphasis upon e-delivery of trademark services in India. This would be a serious jolt to the Digital India project of Indian government that is already suffering from many shortcomings and weaknesses.
(5) Fees concessions for e-filings have been suggested by the proposed rules. This is an indirect method to force the stakeholders to adopt e-filing instead of paper filing. However, Indian government needs to spread awareness about e-filing along with providing better e-filing facilities.
(6) Well known trademarks have again been recognised by the proposed rules. However, there is an urgent need to draft suitable guidelines to deal with well known trademarks in India.
(7) More stringent requirements have been prescribed for establishing prior use by the trademark applicants.
(8) Provisions for expeditious disposal of applications with additional fees has been retained. However, expeditious disposal of trademark applications must be the norm irrespective of the fact of additional payment of fees. The same is missing as on date.
We hope our readers would find this update useful. We also hope that business houses, e-commerce websites and individuals would actively take part in strengthening of their intellectual property rights in general and trademark in particular.